Jewish Weddings

Ideas for an Outdoor Saturday Wedding - Because I'm a Masochist

Hello Knotties.

My FI and I are having a Jewish wedding. As I am not Jewish, I trusted him to point out any potential pitfalls. We talked a bit about Rabbis not marrying us during the afternoon on a Saturday but he didn't think it would be a big deal. Turns out it kind of is, even for his Reform congregation. But he really wants an outdoor wedding on a Saturday to have the whole big party. We are many knees deep in deposits to that effect already.

So how do we do an outdoor ceremony? Right now I'm worrying about timing and lighting. For our date, sunset is going to be around 6:30pm. So we thought about doing 30 minutes of cocktail stuff beforehand so he and I can do photos, starting the ceremony at 6:30 and ending at 7:00, then having some more bites and drinks while we do photos with the families. If we configure time for our - I forget what it's called, but private time to sign the Ketubah and all of that - and pictures with family I imagine the reception would start around 7:45. Is that too late for dinner?

Also, I'm seeking some ideas to make sure we are well lit  for the ceremony. Will sundown be too dark? Sunset is supposed to be at like 6:33 or something so we're hoping it'll still be pretty light but I'm nervous.

Please advise. Thanks!

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Re: Ideas for an Outdoor Saturday Wedding - Because I'm a Masochist

  • @MegEn1 Hi! This is really late, and I don't know if you still need the info but...my FI's cousin sort of did what you're talking about. Cocktail hour first, then they did an "unveiling" ceremony during the cocktail hour in the middle of it all (I'm Jewish, and I had never heard of this... I think they went more on the Conservative/ Orthodox side), then it was something like 7pm and past sundown so they did the actual ceremony (with some of the Shabbat stuff since it was Saturday), and then the reception. This was Vermont, in September, and 7pm = night time. It was completely dark. 

    They had also planned to do an outdoor ceremony, and had a bunch of extra twinkle lights and candles ready.... I think they bought something like $300 worth of lights from their florist (and they had good prices! They got married and used vendors from VT as opposed to NYC where they're actually from.) It would have been very romantic and pretty. BUT! It rained. So we were under the tent that was supposed to be just for the reception. It was still quite pretty, as they opened up the back of the tent a bit behind the couple so you could kind of see out into the vista...but they were not very prepared for rain, and I think some people didn't have chairs. Definitely think about plan B. I was shocked their venue wasn't ready for this. They spent a pretty penny at an Inn that supposedly does these events a lot, and yet...  

    His cousin, the bride, took part in the cocktail hour in her dress, and I think there was less of a "stand up...OHHH AHHH" moment when she walked down the aisle. She was surprised that no one stood up. I I think if you stay away during the first half of your "cocktail hour" you'll keep some of the surprise, but I think like what happened with her, you will have some confused guests. People are very used to ceremony, cocktails, reception.... so doing cocktails, ceremony, cocktails, reception could definitely create confusion. I would just let the loud people know what the deal is and where everything will take place and tell them to spread it around. 

    And I don't think 7:45 is too late for dinner, especially if food is actually served pretty quickly (like, before 8:30).
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    MegEn1 said:
    Hello Knotties.

    My FI and I are having a Jewish wedding. As I am not Jewish, I trusted him to point out any potential pitfalls. We talked a bit about Rabbis not marrying us during the afternoon on a Saturday but he didn't think it would be a big deal. Turns out it kind of is, even for his Reform congregation. But he really wants an outdoor wedding on a Saturday to have the whole big party. We are many knees deep in deposits to that effect already.

    So how do we do an outdoor ceremony? Right now I'm worrying about timing and lighting. For our date, sunset is going to be around 6:30pm. So we thought about doing 30 minutes of cocktail stuff beforehand so he and I can do photos, starting the ceremony at 6:30 and ending at 7:00, then having some more bites and drinks while we do photos with the families. If we configure time for our - I forget what it's called, but private time to sign the Ketubah and all of that - and pictures with family I imagine the reception would start around 7:45. Is that too late for dinner?

    Also, I'm seeking some ideas to make sure we are well lit  for the ceremony. Will sundown be too dark? Sunset is supposed to be at like 6:33 or something so we're hoping it'll still be pretty light but I'm nervous.

    Please advise. Thanks!

    With regard to the bolded, the word you're looking for is bedeken, and it takes place before the ceremony and photos.  I could be wrong about this, but I think that it's not supposed to take place before sundown.  This is really the start of the wedding. 

    I do think 7:45pm is a little late for dinner, but you could do a cocktail/hors d'oeuvres/dessert reception instead if you serve enough appetizers that they constitute the equivalent of a meal.

    I think you could have lanterns and candles for a nighttime outdoor ceremony, but I agree with the PP that you'll need a Plan B.  Also be prepared for moths, mosquitos, and depending where you are, cicadas or crickets.  It can get noisy at night!

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